Quarterly Report: 2011, October - December (Q2), Buckland

Community:
Buckland 
Staff:
Margaret Hansen  
DCRA Regional Office:
 
Gov't Type:
Second Class City 
Borough:
 
Agreement?
No 
Agreement Date:
 
Entity:
City of Buckland 
Population:
457  
Assessment Status:
 
Assessment Date:
 
Exp Date:
 
Last Updated:
2/2/2011 
Community Sanitation Overview:
The water supply used by the City is taken from the Buckland River. It is treated with filtration and chlorination and stored in a central community storage tank. The water is then hauled to some homes by means of a light truck and small tanks. The residents are charged for this service. The community has a central washeteria, which is a combination laundromat, toilet and shower facility and provides a watering point for residents who haul their own water. The City met with VSW who coordinated the hiring of a project management firm to oversee all phases of the water/sewer project. The sewage lagoon project started last summer which was completed; currently, the sewer pipes have been installed from the washeteria to the sewer lagoon. The water pipes are being built from the washeteria to the clinic which is about 17 buildings. The council passed a resolution syaing that they would do inhouse plumbing if they pay their landfill, trash and sewer bills. The maintenance equipment storage building is completed. The foundation for the water treatment plant is done and the water tank shell is complete and also the construction camp. They hope to do in home plumbing for 17 homes which they expect to be done this winter. They are 13 million short to do this for the entire community. 
RUBA Status & Activities This Qtr:
Kotzebue RUBA provided assistance to the administrator regarding their travel and drug policies, their first draft water and sewer ordinance for their new piped system and utility service agreements. I also gave advice on how to bring up issues with the water and sewer contract work being performed by chronological order on discussions the administrator has had on her concerns and responses she received to provide to the council and new Mayor. This way there is something in writing that the council can use to make informed  
RUBA Activities for the Coming Qtr:
RUBA staff will travel back to Buckland during the next quarter to update their assessment.
Scores:
 
Essential Indicators:
27 of 27
Sustainable Indicators:
23 of 26
Total Score:
50 of 53

Finances

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes All revenues and expenses for the utility are listed in the utility budget.
Yes The utility has adopted a balanced realistic budget.
Yes Monthly financial reports are prepared and submitted to the policy making board.
Yes The utility is current in paying all water/wastewater electric bills.
Yes The utility has on hand a year's adequate fuel supply or it has a financial plan to purchase an adequate supply.
Yes The utility is receiving revenues (user fees or other sources) sufficient to cover operating expenses.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
No The utility is receiving revenues (user fees or other sources sufficient to cover operating expenses and Repair & Replacement (R) costs.
Yes YTD revenues are at a level equal to or above those budgeted.
Yes YTD expenditures are at a level equal to or below those budgeted.
Yes A monthly manager's report is prepared.
N/A Budget amendments are completed and adopted as necessary.
Finances Comments
The utility has adopted a balanced realistic budget which they list all reveneues and expenses for the utility providing the council with a monthly financial report. The report shows that they are receiving revenues that equealto those budgeted sufficient to cover operating expenes which are at a level below those budgeted as reported to council as well in her manager's report. Although she has budgeted to purchase the needed fuel and is current in paying her electric bills, they have not been able to save funds away to cover repair and replacement costs other than for emergencies.

Accounting Systems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility has adopted a collection policy and actively follows it.
Yes The utility bills customers on a regular basis.
Yes An accounts receivable system is in place which tracks customers and reports past due accounts and amounts.
Yes An accounts payable system is in place.
Yes The payroll system correctly calculates payroll and keeps records.
Yes A cash receipt system is in place that records incoming money and how it was spent.
Yes The utility has a cash disbursement system that records how money was spent.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
Yes A chart of accounts is used that identifies categories in a reasonable, usable manner.
Yes Monthly bank reconciliations have been completed for all utility accounts.
Yes The utility has a purchasing system that requires approval prior to purchase, and the approval process compares proposed purchases to budgeted amounts.
Accounting Systems Comments
The utility has a collection policy that they follow billing customers on a monthly basis. In tracking their customers who are past due, they have them on a payment plan gearing up to get them ready for their piped system. They have stressed how important it is that they pay their bills on time providing the city with a positive cash flow. They still utilize quickbooks whichhas an accounts payable, payroll and cash disbursement systems that correctly calculateds payroll, records incoming money and how it was spent including a purchasing system. Before purchases are made, they check the budget (which is their chart of accounts) and last monthly reconciled financial report before approving those expenditures.

Tax Problems

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility has a system to accurately calculate, track, and report payroll tax liabilities.
Yes The utility is current on filing tax reports.
Yes The utility is current on making tax deposits.
Yes If there are any past due tax liabilities or recorded tax liens, a lien release has been issued or a repayment agreement has been signed and repayments are current.
Tax Problems Comments
The city has no past due liabilities at this time which shows that by using quickbooks they accurately calculate, track, deposit and report payroll tax liabilities timely.

Personnel System

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility has a posted workers compensation insurance policy in effect.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility has adopted and uses a Personnel Policy, which has been reviewed by an attorney, AML or Commerce for topics and language.
Yes The utility has adequate written job descriptions for all positions.
Yes The utility has adopted and follows a written personnel evaluation process that ties the job description to the evaluation.
Yes The utility has an adequate written hiring process.
Yes The utility has personnel folders on every employee that contain at least: I-9, Job Application and Letter of Acceptance.
Yes The utility has a probationary period for new hires that includes orientation, job training/oversight, and evaluations.
Yes The utility provides training opportunities to staff as needed and available.
Personnel System Comments
Their new insurance is paid in full and in effect until next June 2011, they now are insured by Alaska Public Entity Insurance who has verified they are paid in full. The city has an adopted personnel policy which they update as needed having an attorney review. They continue to use their job descriptions to use when evaluating staff per written personnel evaluation process allowing staff to grow by providing training opportunities as needed. They use the hiring process in their policies. When a new employee is hired they provide job orientations, and oversight especially during the probationary period to assure a smooth transition making sure their personnel file contains all the necessary documentation such as a completed I-9 form, job application and letter of acceptance.

Organizational Management

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The entity that owns the utility is known; the entity that will operate the utility is set.
Yes The policy making body is active in policy making of the utility.
Yes The policy making body enforces utility policy.
Yes The utility has an adequately trained manager.
Yes The utility has an adequately trained bookkeeper.
Yes The utility has an adequately trained operator or operators.
Yes The utility has adopted the necessary ordinances (or rules and regulations) necessary to give it the authority to operate.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility has adopted an organizational chart that reflects the current structure.
Yes The policy making body meets as required.
Yes The utility complies with the open meeting act for all meetings.
Organizational Management Comments
The city council is the known entity that operates the utility meeting monthly in order to actively follow and enforce their utility policies and ordinances to give it authority who complies with the open meetings act. The Buckland City Council passed an amended water/sewer ordinance last week of December giving it authority to operate their new piped system. They have a very trainined manager who is the city administrator doing most of the bookkeeper duties who employs a city clerk to help do the payroll and cash receipts. The utility has an adopted organizational chart that reflects the current structure.

Operation of Utility

Essential Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The utility operator(s) are actively working towards necessary certification.
Yes The utility has a preventative maintenance plan developed for the existing sanitation facilities.
Sustainable Indicators
Answer Question
Yes The manager receives a monthly O&M report from the utility operator and routinely "spot checks" the facilities to see that the maintenance items are being completed.
No The utility has a safety manual and holds safety meetings.
Yes Utility facilities have not suffered any major problems/outages due to management issues that are unresolved.
Yes The utility is operating at the level of service that was proposed.
Yes The operator provides status reports to the manager on a routine basis.
Yes The utility has completed and distributed its "Consumer Confidence Report".
No The utility is not on the "Significant Non-Complier" (SNC) list.
Yes The utility maintains an inventory control list.
Yes The utility maintains a critical spare parts list.
Operation of Utility Comments
Kotzebue staff contacted the administrator to advise her to contact Department of Environmental Conservation to let them know that the only operator showing certified for Buckland is Erik Weber who is working for the Buckland water System. He holds provisional certicates for water distribution and treatment. He works along side the long time operator who has not been able to become recertified this year but they follow the preventative maintenance plan for existing facilities which the administrator oversee by spot checking facilities to make sure that maintenance items are being completed. The utility is operating at the level proposed therefore not suffering any major problems or outages. The operator provides reports to the administrator and council on a routine basis who also maintains an inventory and critical spare parts list. The city has distributed their Consumer confidence report but is still on the SNC list because they still need treatment plant updgrad to address TTHM/RAA MCL and needs to continue to post public notice for this.